Saturday, June 4, 2016

Unbreakable

I don't have anything horse-related or dog-related to post about since it's been prematurely hot outside.  I did get over my flu fairly fast, and called to set up an appointment with the doctor about my leg issue.  Usually, my husband can call just to have his annual checkup, and they tell him to come right in, but they're making me wait until next week.  I thought I'd have a better chance to get in quickly in the summer when all winter visitors have returned home, but I guess everyone is having heat-related health problems.  Either that or all the doctors and P.A.s are on vacation.  Also, I suspect that they flagged my husband's file as someone who needs immediate medical attention under all circumstance since he's had life-threatening health problems.  I've mainly just had an uncooperative uterus.

I was actually quite thankful that I did get the flu, because it saved me from my neighbor's endless impositions.  She didn't want to catch it, so she got her friend to do all the things she had planned to have me do for her (without telling me that she planned to have me do them, of course).  She doesn't respect my leg problems because she doesn't have to experience my pain, but if I have a virus that she could catch, she wants to protect herself.

I did tell her right away that I was done working for her, but I knew that didn't mean that she would respect that.  I figured it would be a battle of her repeatedly manipulating me and me repeatedly having to defend myself.  She gave me a few days to recover from the flu and then asked to meet me at the fence so that she could give me my final paycheck and get her house keys.  She said she totally understood that I didn't want to do this work for her anymore.  But she kept repeating it, which told me that either she didn't understand, or she didn't accept it.

She told me that she got her friend to repaint the mural on her garage doors, something she tried to get me to do last year, but I informed her that I am not an artist and I make a mess of everything I attempt to paint.  She tried to get her husband to do it, but he only did half since it was too hot outside and he ran out of paint.  She also got her friend to install cabinet molding in the kitchen!  Can you believe that?  I don't know why she didn't just call a handyman instead of bothering her friend.  I'm sure that woman is not her friend anymore after all of this.  My neighbor said she took her out to an expensive restaurant and tried to talk her into taking over my job as property manager, but she refused.  She was only willing to help for a couple of days.  My neighbor refuses to hire a professional property management company because she's had such bad experiences with real estate agents.  She doesn't understand the PMs are different from agents.

I asked what she planned to do since it seemed that she ran out of options, and she said she would just use me in emergency situations.  I shook my head no, because I knew that what constituted an emergency to her would not be what constituted an emergency to me.  She's very high drama, so everything would be an emergency.  She looked away when I shook my head, and she quickly changed the subject to stop me from protesting.  I decided that I just would not answer any more of her phone calls or emails.  I told her no, and no means no, but she doesn't seem to want to hear it.

She was saying that at least she got to eat when she took her friend out, because she hadn't had anything to eat in two days.  I asked why not, and she said that she was afraid to plug in the refrigerator because she didn't want it to break before someone bought the house, because then she would have to pay to replace it.  I asked why she didn't just go out to eat, and she changed the subject.

The truth is that I know why she won't eat.  She's a wealthy snob who refuses to eat in any local restaurants because they aren't good enough for her.  She always has to drive an hour away and eat in restaurants that are $100 a plate and $25 for the same beer you could get for a buck fifty at the mini mart.  (She has no problem overpaying for food and drinks, but she won't buy a new fridge if it's not for her.)  Then it hit me that she was hoping that I would invite her over to eat meals with us, but there was no way I was going to give her any further opportunity to manipulate me into doing work that she could easily do for herself.

Then she showed me where she cut her fingers attempting to weed her driveway.  I knew that was meant to be an opening for me to say, "Oh, let me do it for you.  You are much too fragile to do any weeding yourself."

But I didn't.

I have to admit, though, I was a bit concerned about her, because she was so skinny and seemed weakened and depressed.  I really had to steel myself to keep from coming to her rescue.  When someone is seriously in need of my assistance, I'm glad to help, but having people who just don't want to do stuff that is below them taking advantage of my generosity does cause me to be a bit stand-offish.

She said that after her friend fixed her flag, she bought several more flags and was leaving them in her house for the next time the one on the pole needs to be replaced.  I just glared at her, because I had already told her that I was not going to be doing flag duty for her ever again, and that if she's so worried about flying a flag that was torn by the wind, she should just take it down and leave it down.

This is one of the things about her that pisses me off the most.  There's a simple solution to her problems, but she just keeps creating the same problems over and over, and then expecting other people to fix them for her.  Also, I get sick of her calling me after every damn storm asking me to give her a report on how her flag fared.  I think she just uses that as an excuse to call me all the time, because she's lonely and needs someone to talk to... and I mean talk TO.  She doesn't let me get a word in edgewise, which is why I send her emails when I have something important to say.  But even then, it's too much work for her to read the email, so she calls me to ask what the email said, claiming that her phone ate it.

This lady is seriously one of the most difficult personalities I have come across in my lifetime.

She said she'd let me go, and I started walking away, thinking, "That was too easy."

Then I heard her call out, "Oh, and one more thing..."

Oh oh.  Here it comes.

"I'm going to be calling you to let you know if workers or home shoppers will be coming by the house so that you won't think they are burglars."

Okay.  Fair enough.  I won't answer the phone because then she'll suck up the rest of my day repeating her life story to me again, but she can leave a message.  My voicemail will just cut her off when she gets too long-winded.

Then she told me to be on the lookout for anyone who is on her property without her permission.  I'm tired of being her security guard.  Yes, I know that what happens in the neighborhood affects me too, but I don't want to have to stand guard and be held responsible if something does happen.  I just walked away since she gave me a statement and did not ask for my consent.

"One more thing..."

I stopped, but refused to walk all the way back to her with my aching leg.  She yelled, "That's okay.  You can stay there.  I'll come to you."

She ran over.  "Somehow most of my pictures got taken down from my website.  I need you to put them back up and upload your video for me."

I realized that she was referring to a photography job I did for her last year.  She's the reason why I changed my business model to be paid on an hourly basis rather than a flat rate.  Here we are a year later and she's still dragging out the assignment.  I actually went out of business last year, but am still doing a few favors for friends.  I told her that I couldn't do that for her.  Of course, she wanted to know why.  This is where I always get into trouble.  As soon as I offer a reason for why I can't do something, she finds a workaround.  What I really need to do is say that I won't do it, as opposed to can't do it.  But then she'd still ask that why question.  Do you think it would be appropriate for me to tell her that I just can't stand her?  I can hear it now...  "But why won't you do it?"  "Because you've already driven me half-way to the loony bin and I can't spend one more minute dealing with your problems."

My father once encouraged me to become a psychiatrist, because he said I understand people.  I told him he was right, and that was precisely why I would not become a psychiatrist.

A little background:  This neighbor hired me to do a couple of photography jobs for her.  The first one was almost traumatic for me, because she commandeered the photo shoot and would not let me take the photos I knew would turn out best.  She directed me on where to go, what to do, how to shoot it, etc. despite me warning her about the various problems with those choices.  However, she was the paying customer, so I did what she said and, of course, the photos did not turn out well.  The entire job dragged out for way too long because she kept changing her mind about which photos she wanted to buy, and then she kept asking me to Photoshop things in and out of them, then she complained that my gallery was too slow, so I started paying a monthly fee for a faster website, and that fee added up to more than I charged her for the job, so I actually lost money.

Then she hired me to do a second job and I told her I would have to charge by the hour plus the cost of any additional products I'd have to purchase to get her needs met.  I wasn't going to take a loss again, especially since doing that first job for her never amounted to me getting additional work through word of mouth.  Somehow, the second job turned into me having to do website maintenance for her because she was too helpless to upload my photos and video, add captions to them, and arrange them in the right order.  Of course, the right order and the right wording for the captions kept changing every few days, so I wrote up a tutorial for her on how to manage her own website, so that she could do it herself, and I could get on with my life.

She refused to even read my tutorial, and kept pestering me to change things.  She doesn't seem to understand the boundaries of the jobs that people do for her.  A photographer takes pictures and videos, and then supplies her with them.  It is not the photographer's job to maintain those photos and videos on websites.  That's like asking your roofer to fix your toilets when he's done with the roof.  But this lady has it in her head that once she hires someone, that person is her bitch for eternity.  She believes that everyone will do anything for money.  Since she hired me for a couple of assignments, she now views me as her personal photographer -- like the White House photographer who shadows the President.

She wanted me to make fliers for her with my photos on them.  I wrote step-by-step instructions for her on how she can do that herself in a matter of minutes since she had a color printer and I did not, but she claimed it was just too difficult for her.  (The irony is that my color printer had just broken the week before, and I bought a b&w printer to replace it because it was faster and I wanted to focus more on writing novels and less on being a photographer.)  Soon I tired of writing instruction manuals that she wouldn't even bother to read.  I figured it was faster for me to just do it myself.  "Give a man a fish, he eats for a day -- teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime" just didn't apply in this case, because I did not have a willing student.

I had provided her with a DVD containing all of the images she bought, but she said she did not want it.  She said she wouldn't know what to do with it.  I said that all she had to do was pop it into her computer's disc drive.  That was too complicated for her, even though I know for a fact that both she and her husband's jobs require them to use computers on a daily basis.  I mailed the DVD to her anyway, only to have her tell me that she lost it, and could I burn another one for her.  WTF?  Literally, everything I did for this lady turned into more work for me.  I ignored the request, not caring if she gave me a bad review on the Internet.  Any self-respecting photographer would charge her for a new DVD, for the postage and labor, but I wasn't even willing to do that job at all.  I was sick of bailing her out of problems that she created for herself.  How is she going to learn to take care of things if there is always someone around to fix or replace it for her?  Some days I wonder how she gets by without having an assistant to wipe her butt.

Suddenly, she said she found the DVD and wanted to give it back to me to do more work.  Holy @#$%&*!  The whole reason why I gave her the DVD was so that she could do all of this crap herself.  So, here we were a year later with her pushing this DVD on me to fix something that she herself probably screwed up.  She always says that "they" deleted her photos, or "they" took them down, but no one should even have access to her account other than her.

I said that she'd have to do it herself, because I didn't have access to her account.  She said, "All you have to do is create an account."

As I was formulating my argument to shoot back at her that if she is capable of creating her own account, then she is capable of putting that friggin' disc in the drive and hitting a big orange UPLOAD PHOTOS button that is plain as day in the middle of the page, she yelled out that she would send me her login information, while running away and saying, "Thanks!"

I stood there blinking my eyes in disbelief.  What just happened?  Did she just give me more work to do after I told her no?  AGAIN?

I realized that she had been sitting there over in her house scheming the whole time over what kind of job she could get me to do for her that did not require the use of my legs.  She said that she understood that I didn't want to do the work for her anymore, but apparently she thought I just didn't want to do the property management tasks.  The reality is that I don't want to take any job at all from her, because she drives me batty.

I responded to her email by informing her that I just can't figure out how to do it myself.  I gave her a taste of her own medicine.  She thanked me for the "effort" but did not pay me for even looking into it, which I didn't really do because I knew she wouldn't pay me.  As far as she's concerned, she already paid for my photography services and isn't responsible for covering the cost of my labor with any additional work in that field.

Apparently, it's not enough for me to say no, and it's not enough for me to be physically handicapped, so now I have to act like I'm mentally handicapped as well.  I've been in hiding and holding my breath until she leaves town, because I don't want to run into her.  She extended her stay by several days, saying that she planned to visit some friends, but had been calling them for weeks and they hadn't returned her calls yet.

Gee, I wonder why?  Her explanation is that they must have gone camping somewhere out of cell tower range.

The "Unbreakable" title of this post refers to my favorite TV show at the moment:  "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt".  Jane Krakowski's character, Jacqueline Voorhees, totally reminds me of this neighbor.  It also refers to my inability to be able to effectively break off all ties with this lady due to her refusal to respect my wishes.  After all, I'm her bitch, and bitches don't get wishes.

7 comments:

Cut-N-Jump said...

The best way to handle people like that is just what you did. Serve them up a healthy dose of their own medicine. Be boring, be lazy, be ignorant. If you do something, screw it up on purpose and you don't possibly know how to fix it.... funny how she will, when supposedly she didn't know how to do the job to begin with?

Mrs Shoes said...

When all else fails, be BLUNT.
Some people would call it tactless, but SOME people are a-holes.
She's obviously one of those people who you 'give an inch' & they'll 'take a mile'.

TeresaA said...

Those sort of people are leaches- they will drain you completely and bitch that you left them in the lurch. I wouldn't answer the phone either with her calling to tell you about people coming because she's going to ask you go over there.

Cheryl Ann said...

You need to cut off this blood-sucking vampire. She's IMPOSSIBLE! You have no reason to do anything from this point on...she's on her own.

Cheryl Ann said...

By the way, I've had a stomach virus for 48 hours now...cramping. I took some coconut oil 3x daily and now it is nearly gone.

ellie k said...

My daughter in law comes to the states from Germany in the summer for two to three months. She has house setters live in her house for that time. They take care of the lawn and the house, even feeds the cat. These are people that are bonded and just travel from place sometimes country to country doing this. When they leave Germany they have a few months in Italy. My dil pays nothing and the couple pay nothing. There is a web site for people that want to see the country and house set for a free place to live. She has done this for a number of years and never had a problem. Maybe your neighbor need a house setting company instead of taking advantage of people.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Crap - you need a hug- (((gentle hugs to you!)))